June 24, 25, and Final Comments: Back to China, then to Canada
September 28, 2006
The flight from Lhasa to Chengdu to Beijing was not until 4:30 so we had the entire morning free, but we had stayed up late so we just slept in again. We skipped the morning breakfast that we assumed would be bad, so we spent the last of our Yuan on some crackers.
We landed in Chengdu, were shuttled to the terminal and shuttled back to the plane after over an hour waiting in the hot and muggy airport. After we all got on to the even hotter and muggier airplane the flight ended up being delayed for nearly three hours because of bad weather over Beijing. Itís not a huge problem because we donít have a connecting flight to catch, but it was our last night in Beijing and a group of us was planning on watching the soccer game (Germany vs. Switzerland). The plane was 92 degrees Fahrenheit the entire time and it was terribly uncomfortable.
By the time we arrived at the hotel the game was long over and both the hotel bar and the beer garden had closed. We bought a bunch of 650 ml beer for 2 Yuan each at a local store and nine of us went to the empty beer garden to celebrate our last night in China.
Our plane to Vancouver did not leave until 4:30 so again we had the morning off, but again we squandered our time by sleeping in. We packed our stuff and went to grab a quick lunch before we left for the airport. Not wanting to get food poisoning before a long flight, we went by KFC and Pizza Hut but both were crazy busy, so we ended up going back to the hotel to eat at Fridays one last time. We both ordered burgers, something we havenít had in weeks.
When we got to the airport Bill ended up getting upgraded to first class, but at least the seat next to me was left unoccupied. Halfway through our 10 hour flight Bill wandered to the Ďpeasantí section to taunt me about his personal movie player, roasted lamb dinner and free whiskey. We landed in Vancouver and parted ways; he was on his way to a Paleolimnology conference in Duluth Minnesota and I was heading to Calgary to continue my work term with Talisman.
The trip was not only a wonderful opportunity to experience other cultures, but a fantastic way to interact with the international academic community. I learned a tremendous amount about the other peopleís research and I got to discuss my own work with some of the best in the field. I also have the opportunity for multiple publications and Iím sure the contacts weíve made will lead to collaboration on future projects. I can only hope future conferences are as fruitful.